WSR 21-05-038
[Filed February 11, 2021, 12:11 p.m.]
Original Notice.
Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 20-21-057 on October 14, 2020.
Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 220-200-100 Wildlife classified as protected shall not be hunted or fished, and 220-610-010 Wildlife classified as endangered species.
Hearing Location(s): On March 25-27, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., webinar. This meeting will take place by webinar. The public may participate in the meeting. Visit our website at or contact the commission office at 360-902-2267 or for instruction on how to join the meeting.
Date of Intended Adoption: April 22-24, 2021.
Submit Written Comments to: Wildlife Program, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504, email, fax 360-902-2162,, SEPA comments, by March 11, 2021.
Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Title VI/ADA compliance coordinator, phone 360-902-2349, TTY 711, email, for more information see, by March 18, 2021.
Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The purpose of this rule proposal is to classify the "greater" sage-grouse as endangered in the state of Washington under WAC 220-610-010. Anticipated effects include the additional recognition and prioritization of the conservation need and actions around greater sage-grouse. If the status change is approved, "greater" sage-grouse will be removed from WAC 220-200-100 Wildlife classified as protected shall not be hunted or fished, and added to WAC 220-610-010 Wildlife classified as endangered species.
Also, in WAC 220-610-010 Wildlife classified as endangered species, administrative changes such as capitalization to species names have been made for consistency.
Reasons Supporting Proposal: Greater sage-grouse in Washington were listed as threatened in 1998 with a recovery plan completed in 2004. The state-wide population estimate, based on lek counts, was six hundred seventy-six birds in 2019. Preliminary data for 2020 suggested that the population in Lincoln County declined from thirteen to ten, the population on the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) - Yakima Training Center (YTC) declined from seventy-eight to sixty-five, while the population in Douglas County increased from five hundred eighty-five to six hundred fifty-three, for a statewide total of seven hundred seventy. Subsequent to those counts, the habitat of all three populations were affected by wildfires. Preliminary assessments suggest that the Douglas County population will be reduced by ~50% due to loss of sagebrush on half the occupied habitat, and mortalities primarily from high predation due to lack of cover. The struggling Lincoln County population will probably be extirpated.
The potential for wildfires to eliminate sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) on extensive areas has been the greatest ongoing threat to sage-grouse in Washington, as we have seen in 2020. However, with the continued decline, all of Washington's populations are now likely suffering from problems with genetic health and fitness related to small population size. Uncertainty about the long-term maintenance of habitat that depends on Farm Bill programs (CRP/SAFE) is also a major concern. Other major management issues include habitat that is fragmented by roads, agriculture, development and degraded by past wildfires, historical excessive livestock grazing, fencing, electrical transmission lines, and exotic vegetation. Sage-grouse may suffer mortality rates above historical levels as a result of collisions with fences, powerlines, vehicles, and higher populations of some generalist predators, especially ravens and coyotes.
The Washington department of fish and wildlife (WDFW) and several partner organizations are working on habitat and other aspects of sage-grouse recovery. Without these efforts, the sage-grouse would likely decline to extinction in Washington. In Spring 2020, sage-grouse had not yet declined to population levels indicated in the 2004 state recovery plan for up-listing (<650 birds); however, that was before the devastating fires of September, and the threshold assumed that the Douglas County and JBLM-YTC populations were connected, which now appears unjustified. Due in part to their polygynous mating system, the effective size of the three populations are ~107 birds for Douglas County and ten birds for JBLM-YTC. Extinction of the Lincoln County population is all but certain, and of the JBLM-YTC within a decade or so is likely unless they can be increased substantially. The hope of any reintroductions in the future is tempered by the recent failure of the reintroduction project by the Yakama Nation, the probable failure of the Lincoln County population, and the continued loss of habitat in suitable conditions by wildland fire.
Concurrent with this troubling decline, genomic analysis has indicated that Washington's population is more distinct than the bi-state population that was proposed for listing as a threatened "Distinct Population Segment" under the Endangered Species Act (USFWS 2019). For these reasons, it is recommended the sage-grouse be up-listed to endangered in Washington.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 77.04.012, 77.04.055, 77.12.047, and 77.12.240.
Statute Being Implemented: RCW 77.04.012, 77.04.055, 77.12.047, and 77.12.240.
Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.
Name of Proponent: WDFW, governmental.
Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Eric Gardner, 1111 Washington Street S.E., Olympia, WA 98501, 360-902-2515; Enforcement: Steve Bear, 1111 Washington Street S.E., Olympia, WA 98501, 360-902-2373.
A school district fiscal impact statement is not required under RCW 28A.305.135.
A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. The proposed periodic status review for the greater sage grouse does not require a cost-benefit analysis per RCW 34.05.328.
This rule proposal, or portions of the proposal, is exempt from requirements of the Regulatory Fairness Act because the proposal:
Is exempt under RCW 19.85.025(3) as the rules relate only to internal governmental operations that are not subject to violation by a nongovernment party; and rules only correct typographical errors, make address or name changes, or clarify language of a rule without changing its effect.
February 11, 2021
Annie Szvetecz
Rules Coordinator
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 18-17-153, filed 8/21/18, effective 9/21/18)
WAC 220-200-100Wildlife classified as protected shall not be hunted or fished.
Protected wildlife are designated into three subcategories: Threatened, sensitive, and other.
(1) Threatened species are any wildlife species native to the state of Washington that are likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout a significant portion of their range within the state without cooperative management or removal of threats. Protected wildlife designated as threatened include:
Common Name
Scientific Name
western gray squirrel
Sciurus griseus
sea otter
Enhydra lutris
ferruginous hawk
Buteo regalis
green sea turtle
Chelonia mydas
((greater sage grouse
Centrocercus urophasianus))
Mazama pocket gopher
Thomomys mazama
American white pelican
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
(2) Sensitive species are any wildlife species native to the state of Washington that are vulnerable or declining and are likely to become endangered or threatened in a significant portion of their range within the state without cooperative management or removal of threats. Protected wildlife designated as sensitive include:
Common Name
Scientific Name
Gray whale
Eschrichtius robustus
Common Loon
Gavia immer
Larch Mountain
Plethodon larselli
Pygmy whitefish
Prosopium coulteri
Margined sculpin
Cottus marginatus
Olympic mudminnow
Novumbra hubbsi
(3) Other protected wildlife include:
Common Name
Scientific Name
cony or pika
Ochotona princeps
least chipmunk
Tamias minimus
yellow-pine chipmunk
Tamias amoenus
Townsend's chipmunk
Tamias townsendii
red-tailed chipmunk
Tamias ruficaudus
hoary marmot
Marmota caligata
Olympic marmot
Marmota olympus
ground squirrel
Callospermophilus saturatus
ground squirrel
Callospermophilus lateralis
Washington ground
Urocitellus washingtoni
red squirrel
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
Douglas squirrel
Tamiasciurus douglasii
northern flying squirrel
Glaucomys sabrinus
Humboldt's flying squirrel
Glaucomys oregonensis
Gulo gulo
painted turtle
Chrysemys picta
California mountain
Lampropeltis zonata
All birds not classified as game birds, predatory birds or endangered species, or designated as threatened species or sensitive species; all bats, except when found in or immediately adjacent to a dwelling or other occupied building; mammals of the order Cetacea, including whales, porpoises, and mammals of the order Pinnipedia not otherwise classified as endangered species, or designated as threatened species or sensitive species. This section shall not apply to hair seals and sea lions which are threatening to damage or are damaging commercial fishing gear being utilized in a lawful manner or when said mammals are damaging or threatening to damage commercial fish being lawfully taken with commercial gear.
[AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 19-13-013, filed 6/7/19, effective 7/8/19)]
WAC 220-610-010Wildlife classified as endangered species.
Endangered species include:
Common Name
Scientific Name
pygmy rabbit
Brachylagus idahoensis
Pekania pennanti
gray wolf
Canis lupus
grizzly bear
Ursus arctos
killer whale
Orcinus orca
sei whale
Balaenoptera borealis
fin whale
Balaenoptera physalus
blue whale
Balaenoptera musculus
humpback whale
Megaptera novaeangliae
North Pacific right whale
Eubalaena japonica
sperm whale
Physeter macrocephalus
Columbian white-tailed
Odocoileus virginianus leucurus
woodland caribou
Rangifer tarandus caribou
Columbian sharp-tailed grouse
Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus
sandhill crane
Grus canadensis
snowy plover
Charadrius nivosus
upland sandpiper
Bartramia longicauda
spotted owl
Strix occidentalis
western pond turtle
Clemmys marmorata
leatherback sea turtle
Dermochelys coriacea
mardon skipper
Polites mardon
Oregon silverspot
Speyeria zerene hippolyta
Oregon spotted frog
Rana pretiosa
northern leopard frog
Rana pipiens
Taylor's checkerspot
Euphydryas editha taylori
sStreaked horned lark
Eremophila alpestris strigata
tTufted puffin
Fratercula cirrhata
North American lynx
Lynx canadensis
marbled murrelet
Brachyramphus marmoratus
lLoggerhead sea turtle
Caretta caretta
yYellow-billed cuckoo
Coccyzus americanus
Pinto abalone
Haliotis kamtschatkana
greater sage grouse
Centrocercus urophasianus
Reviser's note: The bracketed material preceding the section above was supplied by the code reviser's office.
Reviser's note: RCW 34.05.395 requires the use of underlining and deletion marks to indicate amendments to existing rules. The rule published above varies from its predecessor in certain respects not indicated by the use of these markings.